Syrio Forel would be pleased.
It’s a pity, as Game of Thrones‘ sixth season approaches, that Arya Stark’s dearly departed sword teacher isn’t around to admire his former student’s ability to hold her own in a dust-up. Portrayer Maisie Williamssays she is pleased about her alter ego’s fighting prowess, too, but for a very different reason.
The actress tells TVLine she and Faye Marsay, who plays Arya’s tormentor The Waif, have “two incredible stunt doubles” this season “that we are both incredibly happy with” — though that wasn’t always the case.
“I’ve had stunt doubles before where — they were lovely girls — but they didn’t look like me,” she says. “I didn’t buy it. Like, I don’t look at you from behind and think that you look like me. And that means the audience is gonna be the same. They’re gonna be like, ‘That’s not Arya!’ And instead of watching a fight scene like, ‘Oh my gosh girl, get up! Get up!,’ you’re going to be going, ‘That wasn’t even Maisie!'”
A scene in the HBO drama’s most recent trailer, released Monday, shows Ned Stark’s younger daughter — who at the end of last season was struck blind at the House of Black and White — both giving and receiving some impressive fisticuffs. Williams gives heaps of credit to the women who stood in for her and Marsay.
“They were so great, and they were absolute troopers. They were so fit and incredible and made us look really, really good at fighting,” she says. “Faye and I were pretty good at fighting, as well, but they were much better than us.”
Even watching the sequences with a very close eye may not help you discern whether a shot is of Williams and Marsay or their doppelgangers.
“There was a good balance between the two,” she says, smiling. “Sometimes, it’s us.”
Game of Thrones returns Sunday, April 24, at 9/8c. — With reporting by Michael Ausiello